A new group often struggles to find a way to work that involves concerted action toward shared goals and a positive membership experience. Despite the best of intentions, a new group can find itself in a quagmire of distrust and counter-productive behavior that becomes the group’s way of being. caleb-jones-131206-unsplashLeading a new group in a starting conversation can set the group on a path toward a flow of work and away from the stickiness of the quagmire.

In Groups: Process and Practice, Corey and Corey describe the initial group stage as one of “orientation and exploration”. In this stage group members learn about the group and their place in it.

The initial stage is fraught with obscure goals, agendas, and personalities. Members respond to this obscurity by acting tentatively, testing the waters. They need to find out the answers to some central questions. Is it safe to say what I’m really thinking? Does the leader promote safety or mistrust? Will the group develop a norm of openness or disingenuousness?

A starting conversation helps a new group begin to discover answers to these questions. A starting conversation helps a new group begin to create the safety and trust they need to effectively explore their challenges and discover solutions that work for them.

Have a new group? Have new group members? Contact Flow Facilitation today to help you design and lead a starting conversation.

Forest path photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash